Posts Tagged ‘Political Parties’

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Political Monday: The Two Party System

April 30, 2012

In the United States, we have two major political factions, the Republican Party, and the Democratic Party.  Today, control of our national political debate is firmly dominated by these two parties.  This system results in the endless bickering and inability to govern we see today.  It is the single greatest danger to the long-term survival of the United States.

Before the two major parties of today, various ones have led the national debate going back to our Founding Fathers with the Federalist Party (John Adams) and the Democratic-Republican Party (Thomas Jefferson).  Even then, the Founders understood just how disastrous a two-party system could be.  As President Adams put it in a letter to Jonathan Jackson in 1780:

“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other.  This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.[i]

Think about that for a minute.  Before he served as President, before the ratification of the US Constitution, John Adams, as well as other Founders, understood the danger of developing powerful political parties.  He understood that political power vested to parties is political power taken away from citizens.  Look at just how right he turned out to be.

Today, virtually anyone seeking a federal or state elected office needs the backing of one of the political parties.  That is where the money lives; it is where the political power lives.  Our constitution separates power into three branches of government[ii].  Unfortunately, it does nothing to control the political power of our two most influential special interest groups, the Democratic and Republican Parties.

Both are mammoth organizations whose original intentions have metamorphosed to a single purpose of retaining power and not conducting the business of the people of the United States.  Both parties lack the will to govern by debating ideas on their merits and resort to lowbrow rhetoric and political brinksmanship to maintain the status quo.  Moreover, the two parties work in collusion to maintain their grip on power with the rules the parties use in the various houses of government.  For instance, the Senate and House of Representative make internal rules of operation that grants virtually all leadership roles to members of the two parties.

In fact, they have institutionalized the process.  Just think about how leadership roles are addressed.  The Democrats and Republicans have mirror positions in just about every aspect, The Majority Leader and The Minority Leader, The Majority Whip and The Minority Whip and so on.  This is very different from the Speaker of the House.  The Speaker’s role is constitutionally defined; the other roles are defined by politics.

In election years, the scheming of these two parties does not even attempt to remain undercover.  Political television shows are full of guests from both parties speaking on “gaining control” of one house or the other, splitting citizens into two distinct groups, just as President Adams warned over two-hundred years ago.  In the end, some sort of party system is required to get anything accomplished in government.  Unfortunately, the two dominate parties today put party over nation and press their views upon us rather than reflect the views we, the people, hold true.

The Democratic Party has been around since 1828 and the Republican Party since 1854.  Through longevity, they have insured the true political power remains in their hands alone.  It is as if they realize they need the other party to balance things and allow both parties to survive.  In other words, they are in collusion with each other and prevent new political allegiances forming.  Look at the Tea Party.  Only three years ago, it seemed they would change the political landscape in the United States.  Now, it looks more likely they will be nothing more than a footnote, as the Republican Party throttled support for the upstart.

Need more proof as to their unfettered power, just look at voting.  We can walk into a voting booth and vote a party ticket with the push of one button.  No longer do we even worry with individual candidates, they want you to vote a straight party line.  It is better for the party but is it really better for the nation?  Only a moron would think so.  I guess that is really the opinion of party leaders, we are nothing more than a bunch of morons to be led around like cattle.

It is time we, the people, cut these two monolithic and self-serving parties down to size.  Neither has a right to govern, we elect people, not parties.  It is time we demand our elected officials represent us and not a national political party.  It will be messy but the result will be the sort of governance our Founding Father envisioned for us.  I, for one, trust their thinking more than any political minion spouting rhetoric today.


[i] Adams, Charles F. The Works of John Adams. By John Adams. Vol. 9. Boston: Little, Brown &, 1854. 511. Web. <http://books.google.com/books?id=j9NKAAAAYAAJ&dq=John%20Adams%20works&pg=PR3#v=onepage&q&f=false>.

[ii] U. S. Constitution, US Const., art.  1 -3 <http://constitutionus.com/>

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Same Crap, Different Day

October 25, 2010

As the saying goes, it seems some things never change.  2011 is quickly approaching and the approaching New Year calls for some reflection.  The problem with that reflection is, only the insignificant details change, it is the same picture, with the same problems of last year, and the year before, and the year before that, and so on.  The people may change, even a place or two, but the core subject of the problems we face never do.  In other words, we are not solving problems; we simple dress them up in different clothes.

Regardless of topic, we wrap issues in political rhetoric, make changes around the edges of a particular problem, and beat our chest like King Kong standing atop the Empire State Building.  All the while, nothing really changes.  Take sex education for instance.  Every since the Welfare Reform Act of 1996[i] whether or not to teach children (teenagers) about contraceptives has been a purely political issue going back and forth.  The statistical data supports teaching the subject of contraception[ii] but does not address objections on moral grounds.

In truth, the issue goes back further than 1996.  Lewis Grizzard gives a humorous example in his book Don’t Bend Over In The Garden Granny, You Know Them Taters Got Eyes[iii]. Humor not withstanding, this issue illustrates just how politics prevents improvement in our lives by preventing true progress on a subject.  The subject of contraception further illustrates inconsistencies within the conservative movement’s position on individual and states rights.  On the one hand, they claim the federal government should not interfere with a state’s ability to legislate within its boarders, on the other hand, the refuse to provide funding to any state that does not follow the federal government’s rules.  Talk about “passive-aggressive” behavior!

It is over twenty years now since Mr. Grizzard published his book and the federal government is still taking half steps.  President Obama’s administration has now swung the pendulum back the other way[iv] but conservatives are already gearing up in opposition.  It seems they intend to push the same “moral high road” line as before that proved a failure in preventing teen pregnancy, not to mention failing to keep the STD rates down, that in no way excuses the Democrats from fault, as they are just as happy to continue churning the same old issues as the Republicans.

In the end, Congress will simply perpetuate the fight and fail to address the problem.  That is the key to many problems today; they become political and allow both sides to stake out positions that keep citizens separated rather than seeking to genuinely solve problems by finding common ground.  Of course, that leads to “Same crap, different day.”

We, the citizens of the United States, become pawns used by political groups for their own ends.  The particular group is irrelevant, Green Party, Republican, Tea Party, Democrat, or others, they all pervert issues and keep constituents confused with half-truths and outright lies[v].  Sex Ed. and abstinence-only face the same difficulties that cuts across every major issue today – political belligerence.  If we allow political groups to take quarrelsome positions, it will result with the government attempting to legislate things like morality instead of things they can actually fix.

Political parties have pushed fear in issues like sex education, abortion, same-sex marriage, and people here illegally, to the point it is near impossible to achieve any meaningful solution.  Fear is the propaganda politicians employ to retain power.  They see the issues we face as tools to use rather than problems to solve.  Their political rhetoric creates a sort of toxic ooze that corrodes everything it contacts; even the politicians that spew it become putrefied.  In the end, crap is simple too weak a word for what our politicians gives us – same shit, different day.


[i] H.R. 3734, 104 Cong., Congressional Record (1996) (enacted). Print. <http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-104publ193/html/PLAW-104publ193.htm>

[ii] Brody, Jane E. “Abstinence-Only: Does It Work?” The Religious Consultation Home Page. Web. 24 Oct. 2010. <http://www.religiousconsultation.org/News_Tracker/abstinence-only_does_it_work.htm>.

[iii] Grizzard, Lewis. Don’t Bend over in the Garden, Granny, You Know Them Taters Got Eyes. New York: Villard, 1988. Print. Ch. 9

[iv] Crile, Susan. “Obama Eliminates Abstinence-Only Funding In Budget.” Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. 05 Aug. 2009. Web. 25 Oct. 2010. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/07/obama-eliminates-abstinen_n_199205.html>.

[v] “PolitiFact | Statements We Say Are Pants on Fire!” PolitiFact | Sorting out the Truth in Politics. Ed. St. Petersburg Times. Web. 25 Oct. 2010. <http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/rulings/pants-fire/>.

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